A Message from Dr. Henry Cloud Ahead of the Holiday Season

Uncategorized Nov 12, 2019

Ok, let's be honest with ourselves. Holidays can be the best and the worst of times. Often there is a mixture of both. We get time with the people who give us the most meaning, fun and fulfillment, and we often“get to" spend time with some that can do the opposite. They can be difficult, or even painful to be around. Yet, for bigger reasons than our own wishes, we need to. Also, there can be activities that bring great fulfillment and some that don't. Again, we often find ourselves squeezed between competing wishes and priorities, ours and others.

Holidays are meant to be a time of meaning. Spiritual, relational, traditional, and other kinds of deep meaning are symbolized by this time. Your heart, soul and spirit long for meaning at this time of year and will be asking you to make sure that they get it. With each decision of how you are going to spend valuable time and energy, use the “meaning meter.” Ask yourself, "Is that really the way I want to spend...

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Tis’ the Season to Set Some Boundaries with Family

Uncategorized Nov 08, 2019

When you were born, you were placed you into a family for a season of time to help you grow into a mature adult. At some point this season ends, and your relationship with your parents changes from child-to-parent to adult-to-adult. The roles change from dependency and authority to mutuality. While you are to respect and care for your mother and father, you are no longer under their protection and tutelage. Children are to obey parents, while adult children are to love and honor them. Therefore, situations will occur where you need to make decisions and set boundaries with family with which they may not agree.

[RELATED: SAVE YOUR SANITY THIS HOLIDAY SEASON. TAKE MY FREE HOLIDAY BOUNDARIES COURSE]

For example, you might decide to spend some traditional holiday time apart from your family. This can often be a cause for a confrontational talk:

You: “Mom, I wanted to let you know as soon as I could that I’ve made plans to go to the mountains with some friends this Christmas....

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Take Power Away from Unsafe Family Members

Uncategorized Nov 05, 2019

Becoming an adult is a process of taking on more and more power and responsibility as we become old enough to handle them. Adults identify with the adult role enough to be able to do grown-up things without conflict, including developing a career, engaging in sexuality, establishing mutual friendships, treating other adults as peers, and having opinions. Adults establish a sense of competence over their lives.

[RELATED: FEEL GOOD ABOUT SETTING BOUNDARIES WITH FAMILY THIS HOLIDAY SEASON. TAKE MY FREE COURSE RIGHT HERE.]

This process of starting as little people and becoming equal with big people begins with bonding, having boundaries and separateness, and resolving good and bad, but ultimately has to do with coming out from under the one-down relationship that a child has to parents and other adults and coming into equal standing as an adult on his or her own. This is the final step of development so that one can exercise their gifts and responsibilities. It is a big leap into...

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How to Set Boundaries Within a Dysfunctional Family

Uncategorized Nov 05, 2019

Look at your own life situation and see where boundary problems exist with your parents and siblings. The basic question is this: Where have you lost control of your property? Identify those areas and see their connection with the family you grew up in, and you are on your way.

[RELATED: DR. HENRY CLOUD IS OFFERING A FREE COURSE ON SETTING BOUNDARIES FOR THE HOLIDAY SEASON.]

Identify the Conflict

Discover what dynamic is being played out. For example, what “law of boundaries” are you violating? Do you triangulate? Do you take responsibility for a sibling or parent instead of being responsible to them? Do you fail to enforce consequences and end up paying for their behavior? Are you passive and reactive toward them and the conflict?

You cannot stop acting out a dynamic until you understand what you are doing. “Take the log out” of your own eye. Then you will be able to see clearly to deal with your family members. See yourself as the problem and find...

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Don't Let Someone Project Guilt to Influence Your Decisions

Uncategorized Nov 04, 2019

When it comes to making decisions, one of the things we experience is guilt. When you choose to do something for yourself, or make any kind of decision based on your conviction that it is the right thing to do, you may sometimes feel as if you have done something bad because of people’s adverse reactions.

[RELATED: Stand up against emotional manipulation.]

I had one experience along these lines when a friend put his elderly mother in an assisted care facility. His family had been helping her in many ways as she got up in years. Although she was relatively healthy, the burden was getting to be too much for any of them. The situation had reached the point where their family life could not continue intact if she were not where she could get the kind of help they could not provide.

When my friend told his mother of their decision, she ranted at him with enough guilt messages to weigh down several families. “After all I’ve done for you.” She began, and it went on...

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Life Isn’t Less Messy Because the Holidays are Here

Uncategorized Nov 02, 2019

The holidays can be a tough time for people that are feeling down. If you're not feeling holiday cheer, many people think you're a grinch.

But not everyone wants to “deck the halls” and sing “fa-la-la-la-la.”

[RELATED: YOUR FREE BOUNDARIES FOR THE HOLIDAYS SURVIVAL COURSE IS HERE! GET ACCESS NOW.]

Some people get the holiday blues every year, whether because of some bad memories or past experiences that they haven't dealt with, or simply because of the stress. Others have experienced misfortune recently: a bad breakup or the loss of a job. Likewise, people dealing with serious depression don't get a break from their demons just because Santa is coming to town.

It's important to remember that life doesn't stop happening to people just because there are Christmas lights out. Life can be messy and real, and we have to make room in our hearts to understand that some people are dealing with a lot this season.

One of the worst things we can do to people is to tell...

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What a Car Accident Taught Me About Responsibility

Uncategorized Oct 31, 2019

My father was awesome. I loved him with all my heart. He was my mentor, coach, fuel, and supporter in so many ways. He was also big on responsibility and accountability.

As far back as I can remember, my father always told me that I was going to go to college if I wanted to. He would say, “Son, don’t worry about college. It is already paid for. That’s my job. But your job is to study hard so you can get in. I can’t do that for you. But then, after you go, I’m done. You’ll be on your own.” Then with a smile he would add, “You can drop by for a sandwich if you want, but don’t expect much more than that.”

[RELATED: Learn about what you're responsible to and what you're responsible for.]

I will never forget one time when this responsibility arrangement felt like the last thing I needed or wanted. I felt I needed help—big-time help—not responsibility.

It was the summer of my freshman year in college, and I was at...

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When You Rescue An Angry Person ... You'll Only Have to Do It Again

Uncategorized Oct 28, 2019

I was on a financial radio show taking calls about setting boundaries in families with financial issues. A woman called about her forty-year-old sister to whom she and her husband had been giving money for several years. It seemed that the sister had a lot of problems and “needed their help,” as she put it. But the caller was beginning to wonder if helping was really helping. In other words, in spite of all the “help” they had given her sister, she was not getting any more self-sufficient. 

[RELATED: 3 Tools to Stop Habits of Enabling Toxic Behavior in Others]

“Does she work?” I asked. 

“No, she lives off my father’s Social Security,” she said. “But that, along with some other family money, does not seem to be enough. Or, more accurately, she always seems to overspend what she has coming in. So we always help her out in the crunch. My husband and I are getting tired of it.” 

“Has she had mental...

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Stop the Negative Thinking Patterns from Spiraling in Your Mind

Uncategorized Sep 22, 2019

The minds of some people seem to work negatively all the time on just about everything. Whatever the event, problem or opportunity, they cast a dark light on it which discourages them and keeps them from the moves they need to make. For them, the glass is always half-empty, and the light at the end of the tunnel is always a train.

[RELATED: STAND UP TO SHAME, AND GET IN TOUCH WITH YOUR REALITY.]

Research indicates that negative thinkers will key in on three basic areas of life: themselves, the world and the future. They see themselves as unlucky, even as losers who never get a break. They look at the world as unfriendly to them, oppressing their chances, and giving others more opportunity. They don’t see their future as positive and hopeful. It seems bleak and dark, with no hope to brighten up.

You may have tendencies toward negative thinking and not even be aware of them. You may think you are simply being realistic. You may even think, “Those positive thinkers are out...

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The Structure Your Child Needs Comes Down to Love

Uncategorized Sep 21, 2019

In today’s environment, we often question how much of a child’s time needs to be on a schedule. We don’t want to over-schedule a child so that they never have a childhood, so where do we find that balance? I get concerned, more so at older ages, that kids have way more activities than they can metabolize. Plus, I mourn for all of the “childhood” experiences that they are missing on their way to the Olympics. It is scary.

[RELATED: STAND UP TO MOMMY SHAMING.]

Having said that, the first thing we have to remember is that there is a difference between “scheduled” or “programmed” vs. “structured.” Let’s get that one straight first. To my mind, what scheduled or programmed means is that the tasks or activities that are going to be happened are decided and defined for the child. They are in dance, or art, or some activity that is set for them. These are very good for a few reasons.

First of all, they build skills in...

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